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2 Beaverton Health and Medicine- Medical Biographies

Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life


Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Now I find myself in late August, with the nights cool and the crickets thick in the fields. Already the first blighted leaves glow scarlet on the red maples. It’s a season of fullness and sweet longings made sweeter now by the fact that I can’t be sure I’ll see this time of the year again....
— from Learning to Fall

Philip Simmons was just thirty-five years old in 1993 when he learned that he had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and was told he had less than five years to live. As a young husband and father, and at the start of a promising literary career, he suddenly had to learn the art of dying. Nine years later, he has succeeded, against the odds, in learning the art of living.

Now, in this surprisingly joyous and spirit-renewing book, he chronicles his search for peace and his deepening relationship with the mystery of everyday life.

Set amid the rugged New Hampshire mountains he once climbed, and filled with the bustle of family life against the quiet progression of illness, Learning to Fall illuminates the journey we all must take — “the work of learning to live richly in the face of loss.”

From our first faltering steps, Simmons says, we may fall into disappointment or grief, fall into or out of love, fall from youth or health. And though we have little choice as to the timing or means of our descent, we may, as he affirms, “fall with grace, to grace.”

With humor, hard-earned wisdom and a keen eye for life’s lessons — whether drawn from great poetry or visits to the town dump — Simmons shares his discovery that even at times of great sorrow we may find profound freedom. And by sharing the wonder of his daily life, he offers us the gift of connecting more deeply and joyously with our own.

About the Author

Philip Simmons is associate professor of English at Lake Forest College in Illinois, where he taught literature and creative writing for nine years before being disabled. His literary scholarship has been published widely and his short fiction has appeared in Playboy, TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, and the Massachusetts Review, among other magazines. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.

Product Details

The Blessings of an Imperfect Life
Simmons, Philip
Bantam Books
New York
Specific Groups - Special Needs
Diseases - Nervous System (incl. Brain)
College teachers
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Inspiration & Personal Growth
Personal Growth - General
Series Volume:
vol. 15, no. 2
Publication Date:
January 2002
8.56x5.56x.74 in. .72 lbs.

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Related Subjects

» Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Death and Dying
» Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Disability
» Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies

Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life Used Hardcover
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Product details 176 pages Bantam Books - English 9780553802665 Reviews:
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